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If you are a new Traeger owner, we most often suggest your virgin packer voyage be done with a foolproof recipe (like our Beginners Brisket). All of our Traeger recipes call for the brisket "flat" which is a leaner 6-8 pound portion of the whole piece. This is the cut you will most likely find pre-packaged in the beef section at your local grocery store. We call for this cut in our recipes because the size and thickness is typically pretty consistent so it is easier for our meat loving friends, to get a great result every time.
If you are a more seasoned member of Traeger Nation and have mastered the flat, we are here to present you with the delicious new challenge of cooking a full packer (and give you the tips, tricks, and tools to dominate).
Did you know there is more to a brisket than just the flat you are used to? There is a large, fatty, delicious cross-section called the "point" or "deckle" that runs across the bottom of the fat cap of the flat. The point is elemental in cooking the most amazing brisket you've ever had. A brisket with both the point and the flat is referred to as a full packe in the BBQ world and typically weighs between 12-16 lbs. Even seasoned smoke veterans often shy away from cooking a full packer because it is definitely an investment (both in time and money), but with your Traeger and a few pieces of advice you can cook the best brisket you've ever tasted. Follow the simple steps below and you'll never go back to cooking just the flat again.
1. Trim the excess fat from the corners and sides down to about 1/4 inch thick. Coat the brisket liberally with preferred rub (beef rub, prime rib rub, or salt and pepper).
2. Start the Traeger on smoke and pre-heat to 180° F.
3. How Long Does It Take to Smoke a Brisket? Place it fat side down on the grill grate and smoke for 4-6 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches around 160° F.
4. After 4-6 hours of smoke, remove and double wrap in foil. Turn grill to 225 and cook the brisket until it reaches an internal temperature of 200 – 205° F, approximately 6 more hours.
A few additional tips: **Once you reach an internal temperature of 200 - 205°F, you should double check using your temperature probe – you should be able to slide the probe into different parts of the meat very easily, like butter. We have had better success at achieving a tender, juicy brisket by letting it reach 205°F before pulling it off the grill. Many people place it in a cooler and let it rest for up to 2 hours.
** If you like a darker bark on the outside, return the meat to the hot grill after reaching the final temperature of 195°F to 205°F until your desired darkness is achieved.
To Serve: Find which way the grain is going. You always want to cut your meat against the grain. Slice the brisket in ¼” slices and serve with your favorite Traeger BBQ sauce. Slicing a full packer is different than slicing just the flat alone. Since there are two connecting muscles with two different grains, you must first separate the flat from the point. There is a line of fat that separates the two muscles and it is fairly simple to find with the edge of your knife (or even your fingers). The fat will be much softer than the muscle, so simply glide a very sharp knife along the soft line of fat and the two pieces will come apart easily.
See our smoked brisket recipe and tips for anyone who plans on smoking a brisket, from expert grillmasters to beginners.
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